There were definitely real trade talks last July between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds about Joey Votto, and while there haven’t been talks lately, it still might be something to keep an eye on.

While some saw the Votto talks as the brainchild of ex-Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, who has since departed, sources say the Jays have told the Reds: Don’t make any deal before letting us know.

Reds GM Dick Williams said in a phone interview he’d like to keep Votto right in the middle of their lineup, and hasn’t heard Votto, who has a full no-trade in his contract, suggest he had any real interest in going elsewhere, even to his hometown Blue Jays. (Other Reds insiders also say they believe Votto prefers to stay; Reds veterans seem to love it there).

Williams says he believes the Reds are closer to contention than they were a year ago, and thus isn’t in any way anxious to deal Votto. But other teams believe Votto’s $225-million, 10-year extension, which has eight years to go, makes as little sense for the small-market Reds as it did the day it was signed.